After graduating from Tokyo Imperial University in 1880, he was selected by the Ministry of Education to be sent abroad for further study. From 1884 to 1890 he studied philosophy in Germany under Eduard Von Hartmann, a representative of the central faction of the Hegelian school, and others.
Upon his return to Japan, he devoted his time to teaching at Tokyo University, working to introduce German philosophy. As a result of his efforts, German idealism became the dominant school in Japanese philosophical circles.
He took a great interest in traditional Japanese thought, publishing works such as Nihon Tomei gakuha no tetsugaku, Nihon kogakuha no tetsugaku, and Nihon Shushi gakuha no tetsugaku, which deal with various schools of Japanese Confucianism in the Edo period.
His aim appears to have been to achieve a synthesis of Eastern and Western thought. He wrote a commentary on the Imperial Rescript on Education entitled Chokugo engi, which provided a philosophical foundation for the educational policy of the Meiji government. He also took an active part in criticizing Christianity, claiming that its doctrines were inconsonant with the Japanese national polity. In all, he played an important role in encouraging nationalistic trends in the moral climate of the period.